Do you have a passion for movies? I do. There is some of it that inspired me heavily to want to pursue screenwriting. First, let me warn you, I’m not a snobbish movie watcher, neither Am I a Rotten Tomatoes evaluator. I know what I like and I’m super ok with my movie choices.
I have been obsessed with movies for as long as I can remember, some of the movies I watched multiple times, learn the lines and repeat it often. What is the first line in your mind when you think about your favorite movie? Tell me in the comments! It would be fun to talk about it!
It took me a few days to write another blog post because I’m a very indecisive person, so I wrote down a list of movies that inspired me actually to write movies, and I ended up with a list of the movies I like, not movies that actually made me want to write.
It’s been a few weeks that all I have been talking about its social issues, rights, and ways of making life better to most of us (respect to the diversity folks!).
In this post, I decided to go a little lighter and talk about movies that inspired me pursue the screenwriter path. I made a small list, as I can talk about this for days, I had to narrow it down. Here are the movies I picked:
1- (500) days of Summer
The plot of the movie got me. The story of the boy being hurt and the girl being extremely independent was refreshing. I’m the queen of romantic comedies, I probably watched dozens of them, usually, the hero always gets hurt or chases the love interest during the entire movie, just to be together at the end. Its the so-called “Happily ever after”.
Spoiler alert, 500 days of Summer takes a different route and makes us think that female characters can be the cause of heartbreaking too.
In the story, Tom is a very normal guy, boring, if I dare to say until he meets Summer at his workplace. Summer is fun, refreshing, outgoing, and doesn’t care about what people think about her. She is also not interested in a serious relationship, at least not with Tom.
It’s almost like she shakes the tree, for someone else to pick up the fruits falling from it.
Tom creates the image of the perfect girl, and ends up destroyed by the fantasies he created in his mind about her.
Everything in this movie it’s perfectly executed, from the characters to the cinematography to the songs and dialogue.
2- Coyote Ugly
I love stories about people that live their old boring life to find their dreams somewhere else. My current working project is about an immigrant girl, who was adopted as a child, and as soon as she graduates high school, she leaves her southern small town and moves to Hollywood.
In Coyote Ugly, we have Violet/Jersey, who left her small town to be a music writer in New York. She is shy, sweet, and determined to win, she ends up working in a super cool underground bar, with a bunch of badass bartenders. It was the first movie I’ve seen that made me want to go to New York City to work in a bar and make it happen.
I worked in a bar indeed, but in a Georgia suburb, and the only I time danced was Cupid Shuffle during New years Eve, on the floor, close to the computer. I guess a coming-of-age movie, about finding yourself and your dreams, it’s always a very interesting concept to write.
It’s a formula that always works and has been working for years. Girl leaves small town, goes to the big city, gets run over by all the possible situations, and makes it in the end. She usually has a love interest and sidekick. How many movies have you seen like that? I’ve seen plenty
3- Spirited away
I’m not a big fan of Japanese animation, I’m not much into anime or manga. This movie hits me differently because of the time in life I’ve seen it. In 2003, I was working at the movie theater, it was my first job. Every first Sunday of the month, we had a meeting, and after the meeting, my coworkers and I stayed over instead of going back home, before our shifts. I remember watching Spirited Away in the morning, right after the meeting.
Over and over. Also, at night, before I go home, I stepped into the movie screening, just to listen to the original dialogues in Japanese.
The movie talks about Chihiro and it’s a coming of age tale. In a similar outcome like The Wizard of Oz, the hero has to grow and overcome her fears in order to save her parents and go back to her normal life. Chihiro has the hero’s journey very well rounded and the story has a lot of intakes of Japan after WW2, where growing society and social impact move the country forward.
Spirited Away is a production of Studio Ghibli with the creator and director Hayao Miyazaki.
There is a lot of hidden meaning behind the story, some videos on YouTube associates some of the characters with some of the cultural aspects of the country. It’s a great screenwriting study source, quite different and somewhat complex to the American public.
4- Devil Wears Prada
Miranda Priestly. That’s all. I have to be honest, I bought the book but I never read it. Instead, I watched the movie about a million times and as I said before, I can quote these lines from my heart. Andrea aka Andy is the definition of the Hustle.
She is the type of character we cheer for and in the hope to have the same courage she exudes on the screen. Right after being shamed by Miranda at the way she dresses, Andy gets help from Nigel, which is like a fairy godmother, giving her a makeover.
Channel boots, a new haircut, tailored couture outfits, and a great boost of confidence. The montage scene of Andy going to work, with Vogue playing as the soundtrack it’s my dream scene to recreate to myself when New York. I tried, in 2007, but I was low maintenance Andy, from the very first scene, before she gets the job.
I also don’t think Miranda is a horrible boss. You want to know why? Because if you don’t behave like a shark, you will get eaten by all the tiny fishes around you. Makes sense? For me it does.
In one of the scenes, while Andy is having dinner with a guy who is not her boyfriend, she said and I quote “If Miranda was a guy, they would not be talking bad about her, they would be congratulating her for being a great boss.” We have seen horrible and demanding male bosses in plenty of movies, but when a woman does that, she is an evil witch.
The crop the la crop. I could talk about this movie for days, but I will try to focus on how that inspired me to be where I’m today. Titanic was the first “grown-up” movie watched at the movie theater, also the first time I had to read subtitles, at 12 years old. As a child, I didn’t speak any English whatsoever.
My dad had just moved away, and I was living alone in a 1-bedroom apartment with my mom. Titanic took me out of the rut I found myself in, it gave me the chance to dream. I decided I wanted to move to Hollywood. Once again, I repeat, I was only 12 years old, living with my recently divorced mom.
After watching the movie, I had decided I was going to leave Brazil. ASAP. At first, I wanted to act, so the plan was to take some acting classes and make my way to America. I couldn’t afford any classes, I could barely afford to rent the VHS tapes to watch the movies.
Time passed and that dream of going to Hollywood to work remains alive and well, but now, I would be writing movies like Titanic, so I could give a chance to other kids to have dreams as I did. The movie was a much-needed crutch at that time in my life.
Everything in that movie worked to become the classic that it is. The plot, the romance of the poor guy and the rich girl, the “make each day count” state of mind of the main characters, Rose’s transformation from a quiet suffocated person into a strong woman, the decision making, and chances they took. Again, the Hero’s journey is all there. Looking back, Titanic has been my film school for the past 22 years.
I realized after writing about these movies is that all of them are centered in a female strong character. Woman who took decisions that would change their lives or careers and that makes a lot of sense for me now. During my research for this post, I found a term that I’m going to write about next week the so-called “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”.
What Summer, Claire, from Elizabethtown, Charlize Theron in Sweet November have in common? They are all living their own truth. They are the protagonist of their own story, even though they were not written with that purpose.